The second of December started bright and early: Lord Smith appeared before the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee at 9 am. His evidence provided a fascinating insight into the commission’s process. He also expanded on the additional recommendations that he made, beyond those agreed by the parties. His comments on the responsibilities of a mature Parliament are salutary. This afternoon, the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, gave a statement in the chamber on the Smith commission.
The commission’s proposal to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds cropped up a number of times, both at committee and in the chamber. Mr Swinney said that there was agreement on the need for early action on enabling those young people to vote. Someone who will surely welcome that responsibility is schoolboy Alexander Fraser, who presented his petition to the Public Petitions Committee last week. He was a well-prepared and articulate witness in defence of his proposal to ban plastic bags.
Other Official Reports recently published include:
- the Finance Committee’s session on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body’s 2015-16 budget
- the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee’s evidence on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill at stage 1 focused on the community right to buy and the crofting community right to buy – subjects that have added topicality in light of the First Minister’s plans for land reform. Along the way, we learned about bona vacantia and the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer
- the European and External Relations Committee’s round-table on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, or TTIP, featured witnesses from the unions, NGOs and academia. Arianna Andreangeli was particularly lucid and informative
Words of note:
Fergus Ewing alerted us to the fact that, in the business tourism world, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions are known as the MICE market.